This year, I have gotten rid of a lot of junk. I look around my house now, and I see fewer things, but the things I see, I enjoy and value. I'm trying these days not to let anymore junk into my life.
What's some of the junk that has left my life in 2009? Damp, empty boxes that had sat in my basement for years "for when I sell things on ebay." Old paperwork that I no longer needed to keep. Clothes that didn't fit or had just worn out. Stuff I had duplicates of in the kitchen. Presents given to me that I never liked but was holding onto out of a sense of obligation to the giver. Lots and lots of junk left my life this year. And lots of stuff that wasn't junk at the level of an empty, damp cardboard box, but that I no longer had need of. I sold a bunch of stuff on CL, ebay, and at a tag sale -- made about $1,000 from selling things (!). I donated lots of things to thrift stores (the point of entry into my life of much of it to begin with). I gave things away on Freecycle.
I've bought some new things over the past few months, but they've been things I needed, and they haven't been junk. My preferred shopping places are still flea markets, tag sales, and thrift shops. But when in the past I would greedily load up my car with lots and lots of stuff, now I carefully consider any potential purchase. I've put lots of things down that I would have brought home before. Buying nothing, or buying one thing for $5.00 that is really precious, useful, and beautiful is much better than spending $20.00 on stuff just to have lots of stuff around. There is a much greater sense of peace in my house now. I've always hated clutter, and having all that junk (even if it was tastefully arranged, or hidden out of view in the basement) was definitely a form of clutter.
I know that this new relationship to the things in my life is related to the new relationship that I've developed with money over the past few years. I never used to think I would get to this place. I feel mature! I feel like I'm in control of my material life -- money, clothing, things -- all the "stuff" is under my control, instead of me being unable to control spending, collecting things, having debt, and bill paying. I like it a lot better this way.
I still feel a sense of excitement when I see a tag sale sign or pull up to the flea market. But I can take a step back and examine what I really need or want, and it's much more easy to walk away.